Saturday, November 18, 2017


Health Department Warns Against Contact with Bats



ELMIRA - Chemung County Health Department officials are warning residents about the possible exposure to rabies as bats are more active this time of year.


So far this year, there have been sixteen Chemung County residents who have undergone costly and painful rabies treatment because they’ve released a bat before it could be tested. Additionally, several unvaccinated pets have been euthanized or quarantined for six months due to possible exposure to suspected or confirmed rabid bats, so it is important to keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats, and ferrets. 


Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system in humans and other mammals. A person may contract rabies through a bite, scratch, or saliva from an infected animal. Due to the small size of bats teeth, you may not see or even feel a bite. You should not take a potential rabies exposure lightly. If untreated, rabies is usually fatal. 


To help avoid the risk of rabies, particularly from bats, Jonathan Keough, Supervising Public Health Sanitarian, recommends that if a bat is in the home, do not release the bat outdoors until after speaking with health department officials. It may be possible to test the bat and avoid the need to receive rabies treatment. 


More information on rabies and rabies prevention, including a current schedule of free clinics and instructions for safely catching a bat, is on the Health Department's website. To report a bat in the home, contact Environmental Health Services of the Chemung County Health Department at 737-2019 during regular business hours.



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